Parliamentary committee's showdown with Mkhwebane now Tuesday

2018-03-02 11:40
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan)

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Cape Town - A showdown is expected in Parliament next week when Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will finally face MPs to account for her widely criticised Vrede dairy report. 

The justice and correctional services portfolio committee has rescheduled the meeting to Tuesday, after it was previously postponed two weeks ago due to urgent events that led to the resignation of former president Jacob Zuma and the election of new President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The committee had also not received a copy of her Vrede report at that stage, chairperson Mathole Motshekga confirmed on Friday. 

"I have since been inundated with calls as to when the committee will deal with this matter," Motshekga said.

"We take such matters seriously and we are aware of the great public interest in the matter."

The committee still wants Mkhwebane to "explain public statements she has made in recent weeks", he continued.

Read: Mkhwebane summoned to Parly for urgent meeting on Vrede report

Mkhwebane had intimated she did not have the appropriate budget to probe information relating to the Gupta Leaks in her report.

The committee was "extremely concerned" about her comments and needed "clarity on what exactly she was trying to convey".

"We have further noted with grave concern allegations of her office suppressing some evidence. This type of allegation tarnishes the good image of the office of the Public Protector."

Opposition parties labelled her report into Vrede a "whitewash" after it did not implicate either the office of the Free State Premier Ace Magashule or the infamous Gupta family, both at the centre of the failed dairy project.

Also read: Mkhwebane's Vrede report a 'mind boggling whitewash' – DA

The Democratic Alliance - the original complainants - have taken the report on review.

The High Court in Pretoria also set aside Mkhwebane's report into the Absa/Bankorp bailout on February 16, with some calling for her removal following the "scathing" judgment.

Mkhwebane said she was displeased with the committee following the original summoning, saying she received the invite only after hearing about it in the media.

In response to the DA, Mkhwebane, said the Public Protector's office will be defending the "vexatious litigation".

"It erodes public confidence and slowly chips away at the integrity of democratic institutions when we don't engage those institutions constructively, but rather use our social capital to bully and bulldoze others into parroting our world views.

"We will defend the brand of the office of the Public Protector, we will defend the integrity of our work and we will defend the dignity of the hardworking people that make this institution work."

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Read more on:    busisiwe mkhwebane  |  cape town  |  public protector

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